College Football Week 14 Primer

Top 25 vs. Top 25:
Oklahoma State CowboysNo. 3 Oklahoma at. No. 12 Oklahoma State, 8:00 PM ET
The Sooners’ dismantling of Texas Tech last Saturday might have been the most impressive victory of the college football season. Not only did they win 65-21, but they did so in compiling 32 first downs and 625 yards of offense. They finished one yard shy of rushing for 300 yards and threw for 326 threw the air. They didn’t let up for 60 minutes and now have put themselves in striking distance of playing for a national championship. They’ve got a couple of huge hurdles left, however, and one is this Saturday night in Stillwater. The hardest part for Bob Stoops this Saturday will be getting his team back up after playing such an emotionally-charged game last week. The Cowboys are also coming off a week of rest and their offense has been balanced and potent at times this year. Led by quarterback Sam Bradford, Oklahoma has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. But OK State won’t be a pushover and we can probably expect a tight contest.

No. 4 Florida at No. 20 Florida State, 3:30 PM ET
I know this is a huge rivalry in the sunshine state, but no team is playing better than Florida is right now. FSU’s win over Maryland last week was impressive and they have the fifth best defense in the nation, but can anyone slow down Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin right now? Bobby Bowden will have his team fired up – especially at home. But nobody should be surprised if this is another Florida romp as they get ready for Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. The only thing that might deter the Gators is if they get caught looking ahead, but the chances are slim that Urban Meyer allows that to happen.

No. 22 Georgia Tech at No. 11 Georgia, 12:00 PM ET
The Bulldogs have fallen a long way since being crowned as the top team in the nation in the preseason. Not only have they dropped in the rankings, but their wins over Auburn and Kentucky the past couple weeks left something to be desired. The Jackets have bounced back well after they were awfully mistake-prone in a loss against North Carolina a few weeks ago, and they get a Georgia defense that has struggled of late. Even though Tech hasn’t won against UGA since 2000, the Jackets want to use this game as a stepping-stone to build on next season. Much like most of these rivalry games this weekend, this should be a close one.

Oregon State Beavers
No. 23 Oregon at No. 17 Oregon State, 7:00 PM ET
This is obviously a massive game for the Beavers, as a win would clinch their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1964. The only problem is that they’re facing a better-than-advertised Oregon team and they might not have dynamic underclassmen Jacquizz Rodgers, who injured his shoulder on the final play against Arizona last week. Oregon State has the better overall depth and talent, but the Ducks are balanced and it would make their season to knock off their in-state rivals on their home field – especially with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line.

Upset Watch:
It’s rivalry week – every game should be considered a possible upset.

Other notable games:
Texas A&M at No. 2 Texas, 8:00 PM ET Friday
The Longhorns can’t afford a slip up, but it’s doubtful Mack Brown’s team falters at home against the Aggies.

Auburn at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 PM ET
The Tide control their own destiny – beat the Tigers on Saturday and the Gators in the SEC Championship Game and they’ll be playing for a national championship. The idea is simple, but the road is going to be brutal. Auburn might be 2-5 in the SEC, but they still have one of the better defenses in college football.

Fresno State at No. 9 Boise State, 6:00 PM ET
BCS supporters will quietly be rooting for Fresno State so they don’t have to hear about how the Broncos deserve a shot to play for the national championship.

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Does undefeated Boise State deserve a chance to play for a national title?

Boise StateWith their 61-10 plastering of Fresno State on Friday night, No. 9 Boise State officially wrapped up its season unscathed. For the second time in three years, the Broncos finished the regular season undefeated, and yet the only thing they can hope for is a chance to play in a BCS bowl game.

Do they deserve more? Do they deserve to play for a national championship?

Some say they do because they were one of only three teams (Utah and Ball State being the others) to finish undefeated. But most say they don’t because the only team with a pulse on their schedule was Oregon, who the Broncos beat 37-32 in Eugene earlier this season (which is more impressive than people are letting on).

Personally, I say they do have the right to play for a national championship, just as Utah and Ball State do. It’s not fair to assume anything in college football. It’s not fair to say, “Well, if Boise State played Alabama in the national championship, they would get waxed.”

Guess what? We already played that game two years ago with Boise and they produced one of the greatest bowl games ever when they beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. We can’t assume anything in college football and that’s what makes the game so exciting.

Did Boise State play anybody outside of Oregon? No. But you can make the argument that nobody plays anybody. College football teams are lucky to get two teams worth a damn on their schedule every year. The SEC is down this year and so is the Big Ten. But just because the Big 12 is arguably the power conference this year, doesn’t mean that Oklahoma or Texas would roll over Boise in a bowl game. Granted, I’m not suggesting that Boise plays a similar schedule to any team in the Big 12 or SEC, but the point is that not a lot of teams are playing daunting schedules.

And this is why the BCS is so screwed up. It assumes things. It assumes things based on schedule, and points and everything else but what really matters – beating another opponent on the field. The only way we would know if Boise could hang with the “big boys” in college football is if they played them in a playoff.

But I guess the Broncos don’t deserve that shot. Why? Because a computer says they don’t. It’s the most ridiculous thing in all of sports next to some NFL teams not having cheerleaders.

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